Category Archives: Catholic Sabah

To serve as Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

TANJUNG ARU – The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and Parish Finance Council (PFC) of Stella Maris Parish here ended its term on 30 June 2018, paving way for election of new PPC members by way of nomination from the parishioners.

The parish priest informed parishioners on the importance of participating in the nomination of candidates for the various roles and how the PPC/PFC play a role in helping the parish priests in executing parish tasks.

After the dissolution of the PPC/PFC and other ministries, an Ad-hoc committee was set up to oversee the incoming nominations as well as to help in conducting interviews with those shortlisted candidates.

All PPC nominees for 2018-2021 were given a formation talk at the Home of Hope by Fr Peter Abas. At this formative session, Fr Peter Abas explained the nature of the PPC’s role and how the “Pastoral Council” came into existence from the previous “Parish Council”.

Fr Peter Abas focused on three common questions:

  1. Why me, Lord? Negative self-implication! There are many other people better than me.
  2. What makes me be chosen? Positive notion! Lord, only you know who I am. But still, you chose me.
  3. How do I look at myself in this ministry that I am supposed to take? There is no right or wrong answer.

The distinction between Parish Council and Parish Pastoral Council was explained further; Parish Council is like an institution – waiting for people to come, while Parish Pastoral Council focuses on pastoring, shepherding, moving forward and coordinating. In a nutshell, the PPC should always be planning and coordinating, to assist the parish priests in the pastoral mission of the Church in the parish.

The presentation concluded with a Gospel verse taken from Mt 5:13-14, “the Salt of the earth” and “the Light of the World” and a special prayer.  As the new PPC, Fr Abas said, “you must continue to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin-infected world.” Fr Peter Abas quoted James Heller, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. He reminded the new PPC that if you light the other life with Love, Happiness and Peace, then God is there to light your life with divine gifts and blessing.

Sr Bernadine, a nominee, related her anxiety on her competency and her tasks, and found her answers in the formative talk. She can now move forward to accept her calling to serve the Lord as a PPC.

Petrus Augustine, who is serving for a second term, together with his wife Sylvia Jenneh appreciated the formative talk which has cleared their many questions.

The new PPC 2018-2021 was installed on 25 Aug 2018 during the Sunset Mass by Msgr Primus Jouil, followed by lighting of candles and reciting of pledge of service. Fr Abas reminded the new PPC to be loving, kind, non-judgemental and humble in serving the Lord and others. – SOCCOM SMP

SHC migrant communities celebrate integration in concrete way

KOTA KINABALU – Heeding Pope Francis’ message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees with the theme “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees”, the Human Development Committee (HDC) of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish organized an “international bazaar” on Sep 16 to express solidarity with the migrant brothers and sisters of our parish in celebrating the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The event was a concrete gesture of welcome extended to the three migrant communities existing in the parish: the Koreans, Filipinos and Indonesians.  The running of the stalls by the migrant communities was a recognition and putting value to the abilities and gifts that they bring with them to the parish.

This year’s bazaar was the second edition, after the first which was successfully organized in 2017. Besides the migrant stalls, other supporters also opened three additional stalls.

Showcasing their traditional recipes, the communities made available an array of enticing food for everyone to savor, such as the lechon which needs no introduction, potu, adobo, grilled bangus (milk fish), star bun, pandisal, bubol, pudding, jeon (Korean vegetables pancake), and others.

The event launched off with a prayer and blessing by parish priest, Fr Paul Lo. In honour of the 55th Malaysia Day, a cake was cut by Fr Paul, together with Korean priest Fr Lawrence and other community leaders.

The crowd who patronized the bazaar was seen as a positive response from the parishioners who took up the opportunity to meet and greet the migrants present in the parish, and at the same time to appreciate their gifts and abilities in the delicacies sold. – C. Engsun

Holy Spirit helps confirmands be aware of occasions of sin

KINARUT, Papar – On Aug 28, 132 young parishioners came together at St Augustine Church to share in the gift of the Holy Spirit through receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

These confirmands had been preparing themselves for this special day for the past one year. They attended classes and participated in camps.

Archbishop John Wong, who celebrated the Mass and conferred the Sacrament, explained to the candidates that they now have the help of the Holy Spirit to become more aware of the occasions of sin, particularly in the daily usage of social media in a borderless world.

He also listed seven deadly sins according to Catholic teaching, namely: lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony, sloth, with pride being the deadliest of all, the root of all evil and the beginning of sin.

Speaking to his young audience, the Archbishop acknowledged that with technology advancement people freely and frequently express their views through the various social media channels, leading them to spend more time on the devices.

He warned that this phenomenon, if not balanced with a deep foundation of faith, can be a counter to knowing God and ultimately His creation by providing more attractive alternatives of beliefs easily available in social media especially to youngsters. – SOCCOM Penampang 

Training faith formators to “live life in the classroom”

LIKAS – More than 90 participants benefited from a recently held Ignatian Pedagogy training program for faith formators at St Simon Likas parish hall on Sep 14-16.

What is the Ignatian Pedagogy?  Very simply, it is a way of living our lives in the classroom. It is a way of learning and a method of teaching based on the life and spirit of St Ignatius. The basic Ignatian Pedagogy frame is made up of parts that are easily seen and practised in daily life, and thus positively effect both students and formators.

Fr Alvin Ho, SJ, from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur facilitated the formation and workshop targeted for the English speaking catechists and facilitators in the KK Archdiocese who are involved in the catechetical ministry in giving catecheses to the young in Sunday School, RCIA, RCIC and Kids of the Kingdom. They came from St Simon Likas, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Blessed Sacrament Labuan, St Michael Penampang, Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, Holy Family Telipok, and St John Tuaran. Of special note was the Chinese speaking catechists from Sacred Heart Cathedral who joined the training.

An educator by background, as well as a trained catechist, Jesuit priest Fr Ho is an expert in this field.  He is also the immediate past chairman of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission.

He reminded the participants that serving as a catechist is “not a part-time hobby”, but “of paramount importance to fully dedicate oneself to this ministry”.

“The goal is to help learners to attain the end for which they were created: knowledge and love of God, and salvation,” explained Fr Ho.

The elements of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm help the participants to consider the context (what needs to be known about the learners), experience of the learners (to engage the learners by relating to their experience) and to guide them to reflection and to move beyond knowledge to action.

After the inputs, participants were put into small group discussions on how to apply the steps given by the speaker.

The participants were enthusiastic, happy, inspired, motivated and encouraged in learning the new skills and methods of teaching even though it was difficult to apply in the beginning.  But after more sessions of discussion and clarification from the speaker, the participants were more enlightened and challenged to apply this method in their weekly catechism classes.

Some participants expressed that there were still many things they needed to learn, and that the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm was very complex. One remarked “We need refresher courses or workshops such as this.” Yet another said “This formation is very useful in order to mould us as catechists to better improve our ways of guiding and approach when it comes to dealing with children of God.”  While one found that the training program was very useful, and has provided the confidence to prepare lesson, and another opined that the examples given by Fr Alvin from his personal teaching experience were very helpful.

The feedback from the survey forms showed an overwhelming response where 90 percent found the program met their expectations and was useful for their application in their classes. – Sr Dariah Ajap 

Trauma healing through contemplation

KOTA KINABALU – Difficult life experiences such as adverse childhood experience could cause trauma and toxic stress on the person which can lead to physical and emotional illness and substance abuse problems.

“But there is hope beyond hurt,” said Fr Cornelio Jaranilla, OCD, at the talk on Trauma Healing through Contemplation, on 10 -11 September 2018 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, organized by Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS).

“The best therapy is contemplation. When you experience God, you will be released from your traumas and pain,” said the Filipino priest, who is also a clinical therapist, better known as Fr Kuni in the Philippines.

“Prayer of contemplation is like a ‘turbo-mode’ of healing because it is God’s unconditional love,” he said.

Fr Kuni said as age matures and the body develops, the mental and psychological areas also develop.  However, if traumatized during childhood they will either develop positively or negatively.

Trauma causes a psychological injury called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and can be intervened through therapy. As a registered clinical therapist, Fr Kuni generously conducted a group therapy to the 76 participants, as well as personal therapy to some.

The psychotherapy conducted is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) involving an erasing of painful memory and installation of positive beliefs.

Through his many experiences, he said in Asian countries like Cambodia, Pakistan, Myanmar and India, adverse childhood experiences are mainly caused by cultural structure where children suffer the most.

“The Church should emphasize on family therapy through the Basic Ecclesial Community (BECs) because change (healing) does not happen at the top but in the family and in the community.”

“To install positive beliefs, one needs two to five years, so we need a community-based therapy,” he said, thus the need for local therapists instead of a fly-in fly-out therapist.

Fr Kuni emphasized that mental and psychological development must go hand in hand with their spiritual development. Spiritual awakening happens at an early stage of life and a response to the awakening is always necessary. To the degree that a person responds to the awakening, life will be changed.

In the spirituality of the Carmelites, St Theresa of Avila and St John of the Cross call this spiritual development; the Three Spiritual Ways. It begins with Purification which is a stage of putting one’s life in order, Illumination where the person receives enlightenment and increased peace and finally Union where prayer of infused contemplation happens.

Fr Kuni said in order to progress in each stage, the person must enter into dark nights where he or she is stripped purposefully of consolations of God but at the same time, is assured of His presence.

“Mid-life crisis, which is characterized by tension, conflict and discontentment, can lead you to the dark night. It is a time for transition – leading one to open to the Mystery,” he said.

In each stage, Fr Kuni said God purifies the soul and thus heals the traumas, in order to bring the soul closer to Him. Linda Edward

Enriching spiritual life as a community through LSS

KOTA KINABALU – The Sacred Heart Cathedral English Prayer Group hosted a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) with international speakers at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre on 24-26 Aug 2018.

Father Varghese Mathew Parackal based in Holy Family Church, Australia is widely travelled and has facilitated retreats in Asia, Oceania, Africa and Germany for the past 15 years.  His retreats, among others, include Inner Healing retreats, Holy Spirit retreats, and Healing and Deliverance retreats.

The other invited speaker was Joseph Fernandez from the Archdiocese of Singapore.  He has ministered in Australia, India and the U.S. leading Praise and Worship and giving talks.

The seminar, themed “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”, received overwhelming response not only from local parishioners but also from as far as Sarawak and Labuan.

Among the highlights of the seminar were a session on Inner Healing before the Blessed Sacrament and an Exhortation on Deliverance.  The seminar concluded with Mass presided by Fr Parackal.

It is the hope of the English Prayer Meeting group that activities like these would assist in overcoming issues of secularism and apathy in the Archdiocese by bringing parishioners into a deeper experience of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Hence the English Prayer Meeting group looks forward to organize Life in the Spirit Seminar annually through the engagement of prominent speakers.

The organizing committee thanked all donors and the SHC parish for their support to make this seminar possible.

Faith formation and Praise and Worship will continue every Friday at 8:00 pm at Room F7. – Joseph Carlos Leong


Deacon Friar Claurence Motoyou to be ordained priest

KOTA KINABALU (CS) –   Franciscan Friar Claurence Motoyou, 47, ordained to the Diaconate at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Johor Bahru on 5 Dec 2017, is to be ordained priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing by Archbishop John Wong on 27 Oct 2018.

Motoyou will be joined by Friar Cruzender Alex at Mass for a joint Ordination, where Alex will be ordained to the Diaconate. The Mass will begin at 10.00 am.

Hailing from Kg Lokawi, Putatan, Deacon Claurence, 47, is the fourth of a brood of six born to Fredoline Motoyou (deceased) and Rose Onis Mosoly.

After completing his tertiary education in 1989, he went on to Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang where he graduated with honours in Computer Science in 1994.

What led him to pursue priestly formation?  As undramatic as it sounds, Motoyou was nevertheless attracted to the call to priesthood through his frequent contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception (FSIC) and joining them in their activities and monthly mission outreach programs to share the love of God to others.

Under the spiritual guidance of Franciscan Sister Frances Mani, presently Mother General of FSIC, he realized his call to the religious vocation.

Without much ado, he resigned from the IT company, where he worked as a system analyst and computer programmer, to join the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in Singapore.

It was mainly through the FSIC, especially Sr Mani, that he had gotten to know the friars.  The life of the friars in sharing the Gospel after the example of St Francis of Assisi eventually led him to want to share their mission.

Motoyou completed his seminary studies at St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, Singapore.

In less than a month to being ordained a priest, Motoyou reflected on the moment of grace and acknowledged that “It is only by God’s grace that all things are made possible.”

Humbled by the lengthy years of priestly formation, he added “I know that I am far from being perfect.  God’s call is a journey of life that each of us has to respond individually, yet at the same time, it is a pilgrimage that I make with my brothers and sisters…”

Currently, Deacon Motoyou is serving at the Church of Immaculate Conception in the Diocese of Melaka-Johor.


CMI launches Silver Jubilee exhibition, unveils building plan extension

BUKIT PADANG – The parishioners of the Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) swelled with pride and grateful joy as they witnessed the Silver Jubilee Exhibition and the unveiling of the proposed extension of the Church building after the Sunday Mass on 2 Sep 2018.

The launching and unveiling, which was a collaboration between the Silver Jubilee Organizing Committee (SJC) and Steering Committee (SC), was held at the foyer of the Church where the main exhibits were displayed.

The event was officiated by Fr Paul Lo who was also the celebrant at Mass.  A simple prayer was said by Fr Lo before the launching and unveiling.

On the occasion of the Silver Jubilee, the organizing committee has put up the history of CMI, its timeline and a tribute to Fr Thomas Sham who oversaw the building of CMI.

Other exhibits showcased CMI’s ministries and groups, which lined up the covered walkway at the side of the Church leading to the canteen. The nineteen ministries and groups, which participated in the exhibition, have been preparing for months.  Each group with its own specific roles and functions has its own story to tell, either by the photographs exhibited or the designs of their exhibits.  More importantly, they have come together ensuring that this event would bring meaning to the anniversary celebration.

In respect of the proposed building extension, perspective drawings of the extension, floor layouts consisting of an open hall, a rectory, six multi-rooms, canteen and toilets, and a location map were on display.

The consultants, together with the fundraising chairman, were also present at the event to inform those with inquiries regarding the building extension.  Leaflets containing a message from the parish priest, a brief history of the Church and name lists of the Steering, Building and Fundraising Committees were also distributed for the information of parishioners, donors and sponsors.

Fr Lo and parishioners alike visited the exhibits.  The event ended with a simple fellowship with light refreshments served at the Church canteen for all attendees.

Parishioners were informed that approval has been received from the Archbishop that commencing from October 2018, the third bag collection will henceforth go towards the building fund for the extension of CMI. – SOCCOM CMI


Ignite the flame within

LABUAN – The Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS), which was organized by the English Prayer Group of the Blessed Sacrament parish here on Sep 7-9 attracted an encouraging response.

The seminar, with theme “Ignite the Flame Within”, was facilitated by full time by a Catholic lay missionary, Jude Antoine.

Among the participants was a group from Brunei Church in Seria. The local participants included parishioners from both the English and Bahasa Malaysia speaking groups, and students from the local colleges and institutions.

The talks on New Life, God’s Love, Transformation and Ministry through Inner Healing and Baptism of the Holy Spirit have touched many.

Antoine reminded the attendees in no uncertain terms “No one can force you to be renewed or to change if you do not surrender or submit to the Holy Spirit!”

Those who testified later during the sharing session spoke of receiving the ‘gift of tongues’ and experiencing ‘personal miracles’.

It was indeed a blessed time for the LSS participants and a sure sign that God continues to bless the island parish and her faithful. – Gerard Lean



Marriage convalidation joy for 47 couples

PENAMPANG – Brimming with joy and gratitude, 47 couples from Penampang and Kota Kinabalu had their marriage finally convalidated according to the Catholic Church law at St Michael Church on 29 Aug 2018.  The ceremony was blessed by Fr Wiandigool Runsab and assisted by Deacon Gilbert Marcus.

Most of the couples were married above five years.  The longest married was 30 years, while the most recent about a year ago. The majority of them were married under the native and civil law, while some through other Christian denomination services.

Fr Runsab urged the newly blessed couples to reflect on the meaningful event which they had just experienced.  They were encouraged to see it as not just a way of gaining recognition in the Church but rather a turning point of growing closer in communion with the bigger family of the Church.  One way of realizing this was to be involved in Church activities or services, which could contribute to the strengthening of their faith.

The almost two-hour packed service was attended by family members who witnessed the signing of the marriage vows of the newly blessed couples.  The festive joy continued to overflow at the reception at the adjacent church hall.

The next registration has been scheduled on Oct 13-14 this year. Couples, who are desirous of having their marriage convalidated, are advised to contact the Penampang Parish office for further information @ 088-711009. – SOCCOM Penampang


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